29th Mar2015

‘Night Train Murders’ Blu-ray Review (88 Films)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Irene Miracle, Laura D’Angelo, Flavio Bucci, Gianfranco De Grassi, Macha Méril, Enrico Maria Salerno, Marina Berti, Franco Fabrizi | Written by Roberto Infascelli, Renato Izzo, Aldo Lado, Ettore Sanzò | Directed by Aldo Lado


With some of the recent releases from 88 Films they’ve delved into the Video Nasty vaults and picked out a chosen few for Blu-ray releases.  With Night Train Murders which is part of The Italian Collection we get Aldo Lado’s take on Last House on the Left which surprisingly manages to be more effective than Wes Craven’s infamous classic.

When Margaret (Irene Miracle) and Lisa (Laura D’Angelo) decide to take the train from Germany to Verona for a Christmas vacation to visit Lisa’s family.  Catching the eye of two young men Blackie (Flavio Bucci) and Curly (Gianfranco De Grassi) at first they playfully flirt with them in a conversation that seems innocent enough.  When they are joined by an adventurous older woman who seduces the two men, things soon turn darker as they move onto the night train and the two girls soon find themselves out of their depth.

While Night Train Murders (originally known as Ultimo Treno Della Notte) is similar enough to Last House on the Left for any fan to be able to compare scenes between the movies there is a different feel in style to Night Train Murders, especially with its level of social commentary and lack of regretful characters.  The two girls that are attacked are from a higher class family, which are shown discussing society with their rich friends in a juxtaposition to the attacks that are taking place.  While Lisa’s father is applauded for his work and its positive impact on society as a doctor and how it “betters” the lives of people less well off, we see the corruption of the very society they are discussing.  This gives Night Train Murders more of an intellectual edge than Last House on the Left, which makes the film all the more disturbing.  There is an ugliness in the rich gloating on how they are doing good for the commoners, as these people take away the things that should mean the most to the doctor and his wife.

If you’ve seen Last House on the Left you know how effective a movie it is, still controversial to this day it knows just where to make an impact on the audience.  While Night Train Murders may be derivative of Wes Craven’s work there is a more effective impact in Aldo Lado’s tale and this has a lot to do with the setting, style and Ennio Morricone’s excellent score.  There are many time we see Curly playing a harmonica, with the same atmospheric little tune and we know that the two men are there in the background and easily recognisable of Morricone’s work.  The Italian flair to the film is something that at times makes this movie feel superior to Last House on the Left.

Where Night Train Murders becomes less effective though is in the finale, which is where Last House on the Left and Craven’s love of the will to survival creates a stronger movie.  In this version unlike Last House on the Left, there is a certain bitter taste left with the revenge that is sought and the final outcome is definitely lacking.  This is far less memorable than it really should be, and the impact falls flat.

While the conclusion is weak though there is no getting away from the intensity of the attack scenes and the events surrounding it.  This is where Night Train Murders finds its strength and really hits home with the audience and makes for an uncomfortable watch.  Holding society up for scrutiny there is a realistic feel to what we see, and the people who take part in the attack have no redeemable qualities.  This includes the bystander who in a position to help, instead moves from being a voyeur to attacker when invited to become a part of what is taking place.  Night Train Murders shows the nasty side of society that leaves you with a bitter taste, and feels suitably hard to watch.

There is no doubt that Night Train Murders is a good movie, but it is a hard one to sit through.  As with Last House on the Left the attack on show are as effectively nasty to this day, but have a harsher feel than Wes Craven’s movie manages.  It may not be so visual, but psychologically it hits home in a way that is memorable making this a true video nasty.  Taking Last House on the Left and adding some sophistication Night Train Murders is one for the lovers of extreme, and still provides a real impact to whoever dares watch it.

**** 4/5

Night Train Murders is released on April 27th 2015 from Amazon. The film is available now directly from the 88 Films website.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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